Sunday, March 22, 2009

Take That, You Cur!

The Latin verb currere, to run, shows up in many English words. It tears around in current, incursion, cursive, and all kinds of other words. But my fancy has been tickled by words that end in -cur.

There’s concur, which originally meant “to run together violently.” Now it means to coincide or to agree.

Incur literally means to run into. It signifies bringing something upon yourself, as in, “to incur the wrath of your spouse.”

Occur literally means to run up against. We use it to mean to happen.

Recur breaks into to run back. It means to return, especially in the sense of coming back, as a memory or a nightmare.

Obsolete forms include discur (to run about), excur (to go beyond the ordinary), percur (to pass along or through), and transcur (to run across or over). Cur (the dog) is not connected. That goes back to a Dutch word meaning a snarling beast.


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